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Media & Entertainment Tech

New year, new me: Five apps to start 2018 the right way

Written by Claudia Arena

Happy new year, Medium friends. A week has passed since the beginning of 2018, and as the food-and-alcohol-induced hangover(s) wear down and we sadly roll back to our desks and classes, it is time to face the harsh truth: your new year’s resolutions are bound to fail. You have probably quit that juice detox already, haven’t you? Instead of feeling bad about your failed fitness goals, you should take matters into your own hands. In your quest to a better you, technology is your best friend – there are plenty of apps out there to help track your nutrition, your time, and your productivity. Here are the best ones to track your goals and actually get your sh*t together this 2018.

The collective foolishness of new year’s resolutions
I don’t know about you, but if I had a dollar for all the resolutions I failed in the past, I would be drowning in cash right now. Or should I say bitcoin? Is that what kids are into these days? Oh well. The thing is, I wouldn’t really blame myself for those setbacks. And you shouldn’t either. It’s a cultural thing. We’re all a little bit masochistic, it seems. The clean slate brought about by the beginning of a new year inspires a state of collective foolishness. We delude ourselves into thinking that all it takes to quit smoking/start a diet/learn a new language/go hiking every day/read a book a week is to just wait for the new year to come about.

In reality, there is so much more than that. Healthy habits are built through routine, patience and hard work. The expectations growing from new year’s resolutions are unreasonable and setting us up for failure. All of a sudden we become impossibly strict with ourselves, and then become impatient when we are incapable of living up to our standards. So we give up, and we wait. Again and again.

Cutting the BS
This year, I have decided to give myself some real time to achieve my goals. Which means I’m sort of treating January as a trial month, slowly prepping and getting started. I’m waking up from my Italian food coma and postponing that gym subscription to a time in which I will have figured out my uni schedule and will actually go get those long lost abs back – preferably in two weeks or so. No rush.

To help myself setting up a reasonable routine and keeping track of my commitments, I have decided to survey the Interwebz. Seeking guidance, here are some of the most interesting productivity apps I have found.

1. Keep track of your to-do list with Any.do.
The “ultimate app for getting things done”. Any.do is a popular choice to organize daily tasks, thanks to its minimalist, sleek design. You can organize your day, and receive reminders. It is available for Android, iOS, as well as desktop and web. [Free, Premium version available]

2. Reach your goals one bite at a time with Taskful.
This new smart to-do list app is entirely free. The concept behind it is great. Sometimes we refrain from getting something done because the task itself seems impossible to tackle. Taskful helps you by breaking it into smaller, achievable bits. You can work with friends and keep track of each other’s progress.

3. Stop killing your plants! Seriously.
So I just got back to my Amsterdam apartment to find that my two baby cacti had died. Get succulents, they said. They need little water and they’re impossible to kill! As if. If you’re just as terrible of a plant parent as I am, Happy Plant might be the solution for you. This cute little app lets you name your plants and set up a schedule, giving you reminders when it’s time to water your green friends.

4. Keep calm and carry on.
As I am sitting on my bed typing this, I know tomorrow is going to be one hell of a day. First class of the year, first homework and deadlines… ugh. Awful. It’s easy to fall into a dark pit of despair. Oak lets you find inner peace and tranquility through short meditation sessions and breathing techniques. It’s for free, only for iOS.

5. How are you feeling?
Beyond materialistic goals, we should always be striving for self-improvement. The start of the new year is a great opportunity to ditch unhealthy thinking patterns and sort out all that messy emotional stuff. The premise of Moodnotes is pretty simple: it asks how you are doing. Depending on your response, it will ask more questions to get to the root of a problem. Keeping track of your answers, it will provide you with a clear overview of how your mood changes over time, and increase your self-awareness.

Cover: stux / Final editing: Tamar Hellinga

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About the author

Claudia Arena

Sicily born and bred, Claudia is a seasoned expat in the Netherlands. After three years and a bunch of life crises in Maastricht, she’s now in Amsterdam causing trouble and studying Corporate Communication. Strongly opinionated about (almost) everything, she’s really (I mean, really) passionate about TV shows, good copywriting, feminism and pasta. Not necessarily in that order.